A Jyotirlinga or Jyotirlingam is a religious symbol of the supreme God Shiva. The word is a combination of Jyoti means ‘light’ and lingam the ‘Icon or Sign’ of Shiva. Therefore Jyotirlinga means the radiant symbol of Shiva – The Supreme God. There are twelve holy Jyotirlinga Temples in India. Hop on this spiritual tour as we take you on a journey to the twelve Jyotirlingas of India.
Somnath is recognized as the first and foremost of all Jyotirlingas in the Jyotirlinga temples list. A masterpiece built in the Chalukya style of temple architecture, Somnath is among the most revered pilgrimage sites in the country. It is believed that the prime Shree Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple was constructed by the moon in pure gold and later renewed by Ravana in silver. Thereafter, it was built by Krishna in sandalwood and lastly by Bhimadeva in stone. Mahmud Ghazni, a ruler of the Turkic dynasty, invaded the temple several times to plunder the gold.
Legend: The temple is named after the Moon, known as Soma. According to Shiva Purana, Soma married the 27 daughters of Daksha but neglected them. His father-in-law, Daksha thus cursed him that he will lose his luster and beauty. To get rid of the curse, Soma worshipped Shiva and his prayer was granted. Since then, it’s called Somnath, which means the ‘lord of the moon’.
Temple Location: Somnath Mandir Road, Veraval, Gujarat- 362268
Temple Opening Hours: Daily (6 AM to 9 PM)
Nearest Airport: Diu Airport (83 km)
Nearest Railway Station: Veraval Railway station (6 Km)
2. Sri Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna
Popularly known as Kashi of the South, Mallikarjuna jyotirlinga is the combined form of both Shiva and Parvati as per Shiv Puran. The word Mallika introduces Goddess Parvati and Arjun refers to God Shiv. Mallikarjuna is one of the popular Jyotirlingas in India among the twelve. The temple is located in the Nallamala hill forests along the banks of the Krishna River. The temple boasts stunning architecture and carvings, the colored pillars known as gopurams and mukha mandapa hall. The temple is also called as Sri Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna Temple.
Legend: According to Shiv Puran, Shiva and Parvati came here to appease their angry elder son Kartikeya because his younger brother Ganesha was getting married before him. But he didn’t listen to them. However, Shiva and Parvati stayed there with the names – Arjun and Mallika. Since then the mammoth fort like temple features Mallikarjuna Swamy and Bharmaramba Devi as its main deities.
Temple Location: Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh – 528101
Temple Opening Hours: Daily (4:30 AM to 10 PM)
Nearest Airport: Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (200 Km)
Nearest Railway Station: Markapur Road (84 km)
The most sacred among the 12 Jyotirlinga names – Mahakaleshwar invites all the devotees. Mahakaal is an avatar of Lord Shiva who is widely revered by the devotees of Lord Shiva worldwide and is worshiped at the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga Temple. The word Mahakaal is a combination of two words Maha (virtue of Lord Shiva) and Kaal (time). The virtue of Lord Shiva is believed to be greater than the time itself, and the theory of mortality and time does not affect him. The Mahakaleshwar shrine is believed to be established by a five-year-old boy named Srikar. The temple has the only Swayambhu Jyotirlinga (Shiva is the eternal soul who has no creator above him), which has its spiritual energy. Lord Mahakaal blesses and protects the pure souls from harm and evil.
Legend: According to Shiv Puran when Daksha, Sati’s father refused Lord Shiva to marry her, he got enraged and started Tandav – the dance of death. It indicated the destruction of the universe. This form of Lord Shiva is also known as Mahakaal.
Temple Location: Jaisinghpura, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh – 456006
Temple Opening Hours: Daily (4 AM to 11 PM)
Nearest Airport: Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport (57 Km)
Nearest Railway Station: Ujjain Junction (2 Km)
Omkareshwar Jyotirling is settled in an Om-shaped island called Shivapuri on the Narmada River in Madhya Pradesh. Omkareshwar denotes the Lord of the Om Sound. The Omkareshwar temple is a beautiful three-storied construction sustained by large pillars made up of engraved granite stone. There are two main temples of Lord Shiva here, one to Omkareshwar located on the island and one to Mamleshwar located on the south bank of Narmada River on the mainland. Mamleshwar here is related to the lord of the immortals.
Legend: According to Hindu belief, this jyotirlinga tells how Sage Agastya bought Vindhya Mountains pride to fall. It is also said that a war ensued between Devas and Danavas (gods and demons). Devas prayed to Lord Shiva for victory. Pleased with the prayer, Lord Shiva appeared as Omkareshwar and helped devas.
Temple Location: Ward No 11, Khandwa – Indore Road, Ashok Nagar, Mandhata, Madhya Pradesh – 450554
Temple Opening Hours: Daily (5 AM to 10 PM)
Nearest Airport: Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport (85 Km)
Nearest Railway Station: Khandwa Junction (70 km)
5. Vaidyanath / Baba Baidyanath
Baba Baidyanath Temple is one of the most famous Jyotirlingas in India. The temple is located in Deoghar, Jharkhand, India. Vaidyanath is a temple complex consisting of the main temple of Baba Baidyanath, where the Jyotirlinga is placed, and 21 other temples. A large number of devotees visit here to seek the blessings. In Shravan month many devotees partake in an annual pilgrimage known as Kanwar Yatra, fetch holy water from Ganga to pour it on the Jyotirlinga.
Legend: Once the demon king Ravana worshiped Shiva and asked Shiva to visit Lanka. Shiva showed himself in the form of a shivling and ordered Ravana not to put it down anywhere until he reached Lanka. Accepting the condition, Ravana started his journey to Sri Lanka. En route, Lord Vishnu interrupted Ravana in the form of Jaldevta and influenced Ravana to keep the shivling at rest for some time. Hence, Ravana forgot the condition and kept the shivling down. Since then Shiva resides as Vaidyanath, in Deoghar town.
Temple Location: Shankar Road, Shivganga Muhalla, Deoghar, Jharkhand 814112
Temple Opening Hours: Daily in Two Shift (4 AM to 3:30 PM and from 6 PM to 9 PM)
Nearest Airport: Atal Bihari Vajpayee International Airport (8 km)
Nearest Railway Station: Jasidih Junction (8 km)
Bhimashankar is the sixth jyotirlinga and the most popular among the 12 Jyotirlingas in India. The temple is located where the Bhima River, the largest tributary of Krishna River, originates. Located on the hills of Sahyadri Range in Maharashtra, this Maratha styled (Nagara architectural pattern) temple is made of black stones. Along with religious significance, the area also offers many scenic spots.
Legend: According to Hindu mythology, once Lord Shiva took an angry form and defeated the tyrannical devil Bhima to ashes and settled here in the form of a jyotirlinga.
.Temple Location: Shivtirth, Shree kshetra bhimashankar, Nigdale, Maharashtra – 410509
Temple Opening Hours: Daily (4:30 AM to 12 PM and 4 PM to 9:30 PM)
.Nearest Airport: Pune International Airport (105 Km)
Nearest Railway Station: Karjat Junction (147 km)
7. Arulmigu Ramanathaswamy Temple
This beautiful Dravidian style temple is placed in a small town, which is situated in the Pamban Island in Tamil Nadu. Rameshwaram holds the 7th position among the sequence of 12 jyotirlingas. According to traditional belief, to show reverence to Lord Shiva, devotees have to take a holy bath in twenty-two water bodies present in the temple complex and then worship the jyotirlinga.
Legend: Ramanathaswamy Temple has two jyotirlingas, one made by Lord Rama and another brought by Hanuman from Kashi. It is said that the jyotirlinga brought by Hanuman is a replica of the Kashi Vishwanath jyotirlinga.
Temple Location: Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu 623526
Temple Opening Hours: Daily (5 AM to 1 PM and 3 PM to 9 PM)
Nearest Airport: Madurai Airport (177 Km)
Nearest Railway Station: Rameswaram Railway Station (1.5 km)
Nageshwar is one of the most powerful Jyotirlinga temples in India as it signifies the protection from all types of poisons. The temple is constructed with pink stone and the idol is Dakshinamurti. According to Hindu belief, devotees are only permitted to visit inside the Sanctorum to worship or perform Abhishek on this linga along with the permission of the local priest in traditional attire. There is also a large statue of a seated Shiva in the temple premises, which can be seen from a far distance.
Legend: According to Shiv Purana, Lord Shiva defeated a demon named Daruka and his army to rescue his imprisoned devotee named Supriya. Lord Shiva’s body was covered with snakes thus named Nageshwar.
Temple Location: Daarukavanam, Gujarat 361345
Temple Opening Hours: Daily (5 AM to 9 PM)
Nearest Airport: Jamnagar Airport (127 km)
Nearest Railway Station: Dwarka Junction (16 km)
9. Kashi Vishwanath
According to the Dwadash Jyotirling Stotram, Kashi Vishwanath holds 9th position in the list of 12 Jyotirlinga temples. According to the history of India, the temple was looted several times as it was made up of pure gold. Devotees from all around the world visit here to worship Lord Shiva.
Legend: According to Shiva Purana, once Brahma and Vishnu argued about their supremacy. To test them, Lord Shiva transformed himself as an endless pillar of light and asked them to find its end. While Lord Brahma artfully lied to have found the end, Lord Vishnu accepted his defeat. This turned Lord Shiva furious and cursed Bramha that he won’t be revered by Hindus, whereas Vishnu for his honesty, will be worshiped. In the meantime, the places where Shiva’s light pierced through the Earth came to be known as the 12 jyotirlingas and Kashi Vishwanath is one of them.
Temple Location: Lahori Tola, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001
Temple Opening Hours: Daily (2:30 AM to 11 PM)
Nearest Airport: Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport (25 Km)
Nearest Railway Station: Varanasi Junction (5 Km)
Nearest Railway Station: Rishikesh Railway Station (251 Km)
The temple holds a major religious significance as it is among the four Hindu cities where the Kumbh Mela is held every 12 years. The temple is located on the banks of the River Godavari, near Brahmagiri Mountain, Nasik. This holy temple is renowned all over the world for its shape. The three pillars describe the three most powerful and supreme Gods, namely, Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh. It is said that there is a temple constructed at the site where Lord Rama performed the shraddha ceremony of his ancestors.
Legend: A rishi named Gautam and his wife lived on the Brahmagiri hill. He had a boon that he and his wife won’t ever suffer from famine. This made other rishis jealous of him. They sent a cow to his barn to ruin his reputation. After some time the cow died and everyone labeled him as a cow murderer. To be free from the false accusation, he started a penance and asked Lord Shiva to let the river Ganga flow through his ashram to purify it. Lord Shiva granted the wish. Rishi Gautam then requested Lord Shiva to reside there and hence God emerged in the form of Trimbakeshwar.
Temple Location: Shrimant Peshwa Path, Trimbak, Maharashtra 422212
Temple Opening Hours: Daily (5:30 AM to 9 PM)
Nearest Airport: Nashik Airport (50 Km)
Nearest Railway Station: Nasik Road (38 Km)
Kedarnath Temple is located on the Garhwal Himalayan range near the Mandakini River in Uttarakhand; Kedarnath is major among all the Jyotirlingas. Also, visiting any Dhams is incomplete without Kedarnath Dham among the Char Dhams. The temple of Lord Shiva was built in Kedarnath by the five Pandava brothers of the Mahabharata. However, the construction date is not mentioned in ancient literature but it is believed the age of the temple is more than 3,000 years old. Generally, due to harsh climatic conditions, the temple remains closed for 6 months.
Legend: Lord Shiva agreed to stay at Kedarnath on the request of Nara-Narayana. After the end of the Kurukshetra War, the Pandava brothers came to Kedarnath to meet Lord Shiva on the advice of the sage Vyasa, to seek forgiveness for killing their kin during the war. However, Lord Shiva denied forgiving Pandavas and turned into a bull, and burrowed among the cattle on the hill. When the Pandavas tried to catch the bull, it escaped by immersing himself head-first into the ground. One of the panda brothers, Bhima, clutched his tail, forcing him to appear and forgive them. Thus, the Pandava brothers then made the first temple at Kedarnath.
Temple Location: Garhwal Himalayan range, Kedarnath, Uttarakhand 246445
Temple Opening Hours: Based on climatic condition (4 AM to 12 PM and 3 PM to 9 PM)
Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport (254 Km)
Grishneshwar jyotirlinga is considered the last jyotirlinga among the twelve. The meaning of this jyotirlinga is referred to as the lord of compassion. The Grishneshwar temple is constructed with beautiful red and black stones. It is a 5 storied Shikhara style construction (mountain peak style). You can witness the magnificent carvings of Vishnu’s Dashavatar, carved on the wall. Also in the main court hall, there is a huge Nandi Bull, which signifies purity and justice. The temple is located in the Verul village near UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ellora caves. The temple is also known as Dhushmeshwar Temple.
Legend: Once there was a religious woman named kusuma, a firm believer of Lord Shiva. She used to 101 lingas, worship them, and liquidate them in the nearby lake as part of her daily prayer. However, her husband’s first wife (who was also her sister) got jealous of her. And in a fit of rage, she killed Kusuma’s son. A heartbroken and depressed Kusuma continued worshipping Lord Shiva. Pleased by her prayers, Shiva restored her son’s life. Shiva asked her to take another boon. On her request, Shiva manifested Himself there itself as Ghrishneshwar Jyotirlinga.
Temple Location: NH 211, Verul, Maharashtra – 431102
Temple Opening Hours: Daily (5:30 AM to 9:30 PM)
Nearest Airport: Aurangabad Airport (41 Km)
Nearest Railway Station: Aurangabad Railway Station (34 Km)
Did you know about these Jyotirlingas in this detail as elucidated above? These are not only about high religious significance but also display elaborate designs to admire. Now, that you know about these, aren’t you eager to visit these in person? Take a trip to these sacred shrines and seek Lord Shiva’s blessings at the earliest.
You can also check out the list 21 Most Famous Lord Shiva Temples in India